Category Archives: February 2016 – Create Yo’ Own Holiday

A Day Unplugged

I must admit, when I was given the task of creating my own holiday, I instinctually wanted to create something that would benefit Gabriel Lee. That’s not my ego shining through, I just feel like there are very few holidays that I can really enjoy. Actually, let me rephrase that. There are very few holidays that I can afford to enjoy because quite frankly, I’m broke. Aside from being broke, there are lingering social issues that prevent me from enjoying some of our biggest holidays. I’m too single for Valentine’s day, too sober for St. Patrick’s Day, and too over New Years Eve.

I don’t want to be that guy, but are holidays really what we make them out to be? Is Christmas really Christmas, or is it a barrage of commercials and gift-induced insanity? Are holidays like Martin Luther King. Jr Day and Presidents day seen as a day of reflection for the things these people did, or are they just a day off from work or school? I’m probably being too cynical but I assume there is some validity to the questions I pose.

So if I could create a holiday, it would be something that would attempt to truly bring us together. Not for any celebratory purposes or gift giving, but simply something that would give us a chance to be briefly reminded of ourselves and the people around us. I propose a “A Day Unplugged.” This holiday would involve an effort to sever the ties we have to our devices for 24 hours. Ideally, that means no TV, no phones, no internet, and the million other devices that I can’t keep up with.

I know by now I probably sound like an irritable old luddite, but that’s not the case. I’m just a concerned millennial trying to get us to look up for a while. I say us, because I feel we all have fallen victim to virtual solitude. Even as I type this paper, I have my head buried into my laptop, inadvertently shooing off any human interaction. It’s no one’s fault that sometimes we get like this. It’s just a symptom of our current situation, a situation I feel we are responsible for continuing to improve.

I realize that with the current way our world operates, people would probably have some questions about how A Day Unplugged would be implemented. How am I supposed to do my job? What if I have schoolwork? What if I have to call 911? But that’s the beauty of A Day Unplugged. You would only have to unplug to the level that you are comfortable with. If you are capable of refraining from all of your devices, then go for it. But maybe you just want to give up Snapchat for a day. That’s okay too! I wouldn’t want anyone to feel pressure to display a certain level of commitment to the holiday. I just want to give us the opportunity to have more real moments with people, something that I feel we have been lacking recently. More importantly, I want people to have more real moments with themselves. This could be a chance for Gabriel to rediscover how Gabriel sees and feels about Gabriel. Not how Facebook and Instagram see Gabriel.

Technology isn’t bad. Our phones and devices aren’t bad. We just haven’t really figured out how to use them yet. Of course we know how they work, but have we really figured out the roles our devices play in our daily lives. Sometimes they bring us together and connect us in ways that weren’t possible before. But sometimes they prevent us from connecting with the people and moments in front of us. As we implement more devices in our lives, we increase the chances of becoming disconnected. So whether it’s official or not, pick your own Day Unplugged and remind yourself what it means to be you and share those things with the people around you. It might be hard at first, but you’ll feel rejuvenated when it’s over. That’s the magic of A Day Unplugged.

Bonne Fête!

By Elaina Taylor

If you could create any holiday, what would it be?

I thought for a while about this, toying with various ideas both serious and completely ludicrous. The jokester in me threatened to write about a Chipotle Appreciation Day, or a holiday dedicated to pun-tificating (endless comedic possibilities), a celebration of Corny Compliments, Be Your Favorite Disney Character for a Day, a Pajama Day, an Appreciate Yo’self holiday, and No Disclaimers Day.

My first serious thought, as someone who is profoundly interested in other cultures and diversity, produced the idea of an International Culture Day. It could be a day devoted to celebration of differences by learning about other cultures. People could cultivate respect for other ways of life, even if they couldn’t muster understanding or appreciation.

But tensions seethe in today’s world, and sew fear of immigrants, refugees, and other religions. Rooted as many are in their ethnocentrism, I don’t think people would be able to fully embrace the purpose and spirit of an International Culture Day. Instead, perhaps people can connect and bond with one another over common interests. What brings people together? Food! But also music. So why not an International Music Day?

Music is one of the few things that can transcend all barriers humans place between themselves. What else is so universal? Maybe a smile or a tear, but little else. Culture, ethnicity, race, language, age, gender, nationality, education level, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, income and more all separate us from one another. Melody, harmony, rhythm, and percussion speak to us on levels that transcend all those boundaries because music is a language that every person can understand and feel. Leo Tolstoy said, “Music is the shorthand of emotion.” Emotion is the soul of humanity, therefore music is a fundamental part of what it means to be human.

So why not a day that celebrates all kinds of musicians and genres, and is devoted to listening to varieties and styles of music that you have never encountered before? A day devoted to music festivals and concerts around the world?

It may be too much to ask for people to accept one another on a holiday that celebrates culture. So beginning with music, something that every culture creates, may be the perfect starting point. We may not be able to talk to or understand each other, but we can create music together. Cheesy as that tagline is, I stand by it and believe in the power of an International Music Holiday to make this world a better, more caring place.

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” – Victor Hugo